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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 25, 2009 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT

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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from illinois is
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recognized. mr. burris: i ask that the quorum call be resended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris: i ask that i speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burris: thank you, mr. president. this june we celebrate our diversity as americans as we mark "pride month." in many ways, the struggle of quality is a -- of equality is a singular thread that has woven through the fab i can of american history. from the declaration of independence to the emancipation proclamation to women's suffra suffrage, from school integration to stonewall, the story of this nation is a story of long, slow march for equal rights for every citizen. there's a story of ever great inclusiveness, a tribute to the enduring promise of the american dream. together we can reduce
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discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. i believe we can achieve equal rights for all and i believe that our next step in this ongoing struggle must be to secure the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. we must start by stepping up our efforts to prevent hate crimes it's hard to believe that it's been over a decade since matthew shepherd was brutal the beaten and left to die on a bitterly cold wyoming road. his story rightly sparked intense nation -- national debate about the nature of hate, and it reminds us that if matthew was vulnerable, anyone could be vulnerable to such a vicious attack. the thing that is particularly
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hideous about that -- about hate crime is that they're not just an assault on an individual, they are intended as an indiscriminate assault on an entire community. our government has a moral obligation to say that this is wrong and we need to make sure that our law enforcement officers and our courts have all of the resources they need to deliver justice. that is why i'm proud to be a cosponsor of the bill inspired by matthew's tragic story. i do not want to see another year go by without the matthew shepard local law enforcement act as a law of the land. we must not stop there. far too many gay and lesbian americans face not just violence but other forms of discrimination in their daily
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livesment -- lives. we are fortunate to have laws on our books that protect citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. i believe that those equal protections should be federal laws, and i'm also prou a proud cosponsor of the employment nondiscrimination act. it is the fair thing to do and it is the right thing to do, and it is far overdue, mr. preside mr. president. passing enda is not end all forms of discrimination. one of the worst forms of discrimination is not only destroying people's career and lives, it is undermining our national security. mr. president, i'm talking about the military's don't ask/don't tell policy. for all of those who've served, to those currently serving in our armed forces, let us say
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thank you -- thank you -- to those who have served. we honor your service, we honor your sacrifice and we honor your courage. this is a -- this nation is a better, safer place because of them. they fight for this nation every day and they should end their -- this offense and i have discriminatory policy so they can be the best soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines they can be while living their lives openly and honestly. especially in this time of war, when we face terrorist threats, we must welcome the service of every patriotic man and woman who signs up to defend our freedom. when we dismiss the sacrifices made by those with a different sexual orientation, we determine the strength -- we undermine the strength of our fighting forces. when we fail to recognize the brave contributions t

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